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7th Circuit grants writ of habeas corpus

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a habeas corpus petition, finding the Indiana Court of Appeals unreasonably applied federal law when it determined prior statements of identification by witnesses the government suppressed didn’t create a reasonable probability of a different result at trial.

Walter Lee Goudy appealed the denial of his habeas corpus petition by the District Court, arguing he was denied a fair trial because of the government’s failure to disclose three eyewitness statements that implicated one of its main witnesses and the failure of Goudy’s counsel to introduce his brother’s tape-recorded confession.

Goudy was convicted of killing Marvin McCloud while McCloud sat in his car, and wounding the front-seat passenger. Eyewitnesses at Goudy’s trial, including the state’s primary witness, Kaidi Harvell, gave different descriptions of the man they believed was Goudy. Eyewitnesses also gave different accounts regarding which side of the car the suspect was sitting on.

The government didn’t share at trial three police reports with statements by the witnesses that differ from the trial accounts, including that many of the witnesses picked Harvell out of a photo lineup as the shooter on the driver’s side. The jury also didn’t hear the tape-recorded confession by Romeo Lee, Goudy’s brother, who was there at the time of the shooting. He said he and Goudy were often confused for each other because of their similar appearances.

Goudy appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals, Supreme Court, and for post-conviction relief. All affirmed his convictions.

In Walter Lee Goudy v. James Basinger, superintendent, No. 08-3679, the Circuit judges found the Indiana Court of Appeals identified the correct legal principle -- Goudy had to demonstrate a reasonable probability that the new evidence would lead to a different result. But the appellate court decision required he prove the new evidence “would have” established his innocence, wrote Judge William Bauer.

“In short, Goudy has shown that the state court’s decision on his Brady claim involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law,” wrote the judge. “Rather than applying a ‘reasonable probability’ standard for materiality of suppressed evidence as required by United States v. Bagley, the court unreasonably required Goudy to show that the suppressed evidence would establish his innocence. The court did not recognize Bagley’s requirement that the effect of suppressed evidence be assessed cumulatively.”

Because the Circuit Court granted Goudy’s petition on the police report issue, the judges didn’t decide whether Goudy received ineffective assistance of counsel. The state has 120 days to retry Goudy or release him.

 

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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